t.
Now just keep taking your medicines, and I'm willing to answer any of your questions.”

 

Bernard, frowning slightly and shook the dirt off his blade.
Then he grabbed his cloak, which had fallen off slightly, and pulled the hood back over his head as if he was indifferent.

 

“But why haven't you inquired after me? As my knight, shouldn't my safety be your greatest concern?”

 

“You look unscathed as far as I can see.
Anyway, what about…..”

 

I looked towards where Bernard pointed his chin towards the man still lying face down by the wall.

 

“Ah……”

 

I'd wanted to just ignore him and go.

 

[I seem to have interrupted something…Go ahead and finish what you were doing.]

 

The words I had said earlier stuck in my mind, so I took a step closer to him.

 

“Umm.
Are you okay?”

 

 

“……”

 

At my words, he moved slightly and leaned against the wall, but said nothing.

 

Until he did that, I thought he was so beaten up that he didn't even have the energy to speak.

 

“You seem very hurt, can you get up?”

 

“……”

 

“Do you need money for treatment? If so…”

 

“……”

 

Still silent.
So, I simply assumed that he didn't have any money.

 

“Bernard, give him this.”

 

As I handed Bernard the gold coin that I had offered to the thugs earlier, I heard a sound that made me doubt my own hearing.

 

“Hah.”

 

“……?”

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“……!”

 

It was obviously a snort.
He stood up slowly while I stared at him in bewilderment.

 

He was also wearing a cloak, so I couldn't see his face in detail, but one thing was clear.

 

He was a lot taller than I’d first assumed, and his body looked solid.
And despite the fact he had been beaten so severely, he stood with an upright posture that betrayed no indication of pain at all.

 

What? Was he just extraordinarily obstinate? Or simply arrogant?

 

Bernard was also a big man, but he was built very differently.
If Bernard had a rugged bear-like figure, this man was a slim jaguar.

 

Besides, he was even taller than Bernard, who was significantly taller than me.
About 185cm? Maybe even taller.****

 

The man looked like the complete opposite of how he appeared earlier, to the extent that I doubted whether he was even the same person I saw getting beaten up.

 

And then, the man spoke.

 

“……
What if even 100 gold isn't enough?”

 

“Ah…!”

 

I couldn't figure out what he meant by those words, and I froze, stopped by the sound of his hardened voice and the look in his eyes.
I felt like I had suddenly been hit hard in the back of the head.

 

“You bastard! What's wrong with you?”

 

As if he was offended by the man's words, Bernard moved as if to step in front of me.
I grabbed his forearm.

 

In spite of Bernard's threat, the man was staring at me.

 

His gaze felt like it would pierce through me.
His eyes were a dark grey, tenacious and sharp, as if he was trying to read my mind.

 

It was just a matter of looking away, but there was a strange force behind those eyes, and I found it difficult to wrench my gaze away from his.

 

“Let's go.”

 

“What are you! You saved him just now, but he doesn't even know what gratitude is? How dare he!”

 

“Let's go.”

 

“Because of you…..
Ouch!”

 

I pinched Bernard's forearm.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Let’s go! Hurry!”

 

I abruptly turned around and walked away without even pausing to listen to Bernard’s next comment.
My primary objective was to avoid this situation.

 

I wonder if it was because of the unusual expression on my face, but Bernard put aside his anger.
He gave the man one final glance and then followed closely behind me.

 

The back of my head seriously hurt.

 

***

 

4 pm.

 

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As soon as we got away from the strange man, Bernard started grunting and cursing him.

 

It was unreasonable to expect politeness from a suspicious man you met on Lackton Street.
I just listened as he ranted loudly to me.

 

However, bad mouthing others typically worked best when the person you were talking to followed your lead.

 

When I just pursed my lips tightly in response to Bernard's tirade, he quieted down, running out of steam.
As we approached the bar, he asked me again.

 

“Miss, why did you ask me to leave him alone? That's just not like you.”

 

“What am I like then?”

 

“You know.
You don't like conceding even a single word, you have a temper, and you don't let insults like that pass.
Why did you hold it in?”

 

“What…..?”

 

“I'm just saying.
Why did you avoid it? Was it because you were afraid?”

 

“Afraid…
well, something like that.
Some kind of instinct perhaps?”

 

“What? You mean some kind of sense?

 

A snort burst out of Bernard.

 

“Yes.
Exactly like that, some kind of sense, like a gut feeling that someone is dangerous.
It's a good idea to avoid people like that.”

 

“Wha – what?”

 

“He didn't stink at all.
He didn’t have the distinctive stench vagrants often have.”

 

“You sniffed him?”

 

A scornful look crossed his face, but I pretended not to see it.

 

“That's not what I'm saying! He's not from Lackton Street.
Didn't you notice?”

 

“What?”

 

“His gaze.
His voice.
He had a strange look in his eyes when he stared at me, and there was definitely something about the way he spoke.”

 

“Oh? How?”

 

“He clearly spoke like a wealthy person.”

 

“What are you talking about? Wouldn't someone that rich have plenty of ways to avoid being beaten up like that?”

 

“Hah.
It's not just about him sounding wealthy.
How should I explain this….Um.
Strength.
Authority.
His voice had that kind of quality to it.”

 

“Do you really believe that? He told you to give him 100 gold after you offered to give him 1 gold.
Do you really not believe there are plenty of shameless bastards like that guy out there?”

 

—-

Editor’s Notes –

So that’s one way to make a first impression… As you can tell, Lackton Street is a classy place.

 

* Koreans often reference the Chinese Zodiac calendar.
The year of the golden pig 황금돼지 symbolizes wealth, prosperity and good fortune.
Year of the Golden Pig

 

** Yes, this is indeed referring to the 2006 Hollywood action movie directed by Zack Snyder that coined the phrase 'This.
Is.
Sparta!'.
Apparently dumb action movies transcend all cultures.

 

*** Quick lesson on axe terminology, the ‘poll’ is the blunt side of the axe head, opposite the blade, apparently optimal for non-lethally beating the crap out of street thugs – https://www.timbergadgets.com/parts-of-an-axe/

 

**** 185cm is approx 6'1″ for us North American folks who still use the archaic Imperial system of measurement for heights.

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